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Iraq war protesters march on White House

Crowd includes relatives of U.S. war dead


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Dozens of people marched Monday in Washington to protest U.S. military action in Iraq.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than 100 people gathered Monday in Washington for a march to the White House, calling for an end to U.S. military action in Iraq.

Among the demonstrators were peace activists from several groups and relatives of U.S. troops that have been killed.

"I'm just trying to get the message out that I think this war is unnecessary from the start," said John Walker of Germantown, Maryland, whose younger brother, Staff Sgt. Jeffery Walker, was killed in action in January.

"I don't want anybody else like myself who has lost a family member to have to go through this... I loved him very much. It's really difficult."

Walker told CNN the protesters have nothing but support for the troops who are still in Iraq. "We'd like for them all to come back safely."

The protest at Lafayette Park followed a six-mile march from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where many wounded troops are taken for treatment.

More than 60 protesters met at the hospital before embarking on the 4-hour trek. Others joined along the way, and still more joined the protest at the park.

The demonstrators read aloud the names of coalition troops and Iraqi citizens who have died in Iraq as a result of the war, and placed their names inside a coffin.

Organizers tried to take the coffin to the Eisenhower Executive Office building, where Vice President Dick Cheney has an office, next to the White House. However, Secret Service agents would not allow the coffin to be delivered.

A handful of counterprotesters followed the crowd throughout the day, calling the participants "traitors" and yelling, "Stop the left-wing violence!"

On Sunday, a larger protest took place after a march from a march from Dover, Delaware, to nearby Dover Air Force Base, where remains of U.S. troops first arrive from Iraq. The facility includes the U.S. military's main mortuary.

Many who participated were relatives of the dead. Some families complained about the Bush administration's policy of refusing the news media access to Dover, saying the White House is trying to hide the horrors of the war.

The two days of protests were organized by opponents of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, including a group of military families.

Organizers told CNN that, in addition to calling for an end to U.S. military efforts in Iraq, they wanted to honor the dead and focus attention on the plight of the nearly 2,800 wounded in action.

More than 400 other U.S. soldiers have been wounded in non-hostile incidents, according to the Defense Department.

CNN Producer Laura Bernardini and Correspondent Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.


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